no great stagnation
To many, Japan seems like a technological wonderland that’s at least a couple of decades ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to innovation. That even applies to something as seemingly mundane as office supplies, as is evident by this new see-through eraser that enhances precision by providing an unobstructed view of what’s actually being erased.
…And with a price tag of around $1.40 for a large version of the Clear Radar, and around 90 cents for a smaller one, Seed isn’t charging an inflated premium for this innovation, so why wouldn’t you upgrade?
Here is the full story, via Samuel Brenner.
A cat flap that automatically bars entry to a pet if it tries to enter with prey in its jaws has been built as a DIY project by an Amazon employee.
Ben Hamm used machine-learning software to train a system to recognise when his cat Metric was approaching with a rodent or bird in its mouth.
When it detected such an attack, he said, a computer attached to the flap’s lock triggered a 15-minute shut-out.
Mr Hamm unveiled his invention at an event in Seattle last month.
An Essex man has said he is “over the moon” after setting a new tuk-tuk land speed record, having purchased the three-wheeled Thai vehicle during a “boozy night on eBay”.
Over the course of two laps, Matt Everard reached a speed of 74.306mph (119.583km/h) after being set a target of 68.35mph (110km/h) by Guinness World Records.
Everard, 46, a freight firm boss from Billericay, drove the 1971 Bangkok taxi on Monday at the Elvington airfield in North Yorkshire, with his cousin, Russell Shearman, 49, as his backseat passenger.
Everard, a father of two, has spent more than £20,000 improving the vehicle after buying it from a seller in Bolton in 2017, saying he has worked on “every nut, bolt and bearing”.
A California-based lifestyle company has created Smalt (pictured), which is designed to make shaking salt…less strenuous by automating the process of seasoning your food through Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant.
…Users will be able to request that Alexa issues a command to start shaking salt, without the need for any strenuous twisting or grinding.
Here is the article, via the excellent Mark Thorson.
A central Pennsylvania man is accused of spraying fluid used to embalm a human brain on marijuana that he then smoked.
State police in Carlisle on Thursday charged Joshua Lee Long, 26, with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy.
WGAL-TV says court records indicate Long’s aunt discovered the brain in a department store bag while cleaning out a trailer.
…Court records indicate a coroner concluded the brain was real and that Long supposedly named it Freddy. According to the arrest affidavit, the coroners who examined the brain believe it is “most likely” a stolen medical specimen.
Here is more, via Tim B.
Dousing every meal in salt might make food tastier, but all that extra sodium is eventually going to raise your blood pressure—giving you bigger problems than bland food. So researchers in Japan have built a prototype electric fork that uses electrical stimulation to simulate the taste of salt.
Designed and engineered using the research on electric flavoring at the University of Tokyo’s Rekimoto Lab, the battery-powered fork features a conductive handle that completes a circuit when the tines make contact with a diner’s tongue, electrically stimulating their taste buds.
The prototype fork, which was built from just $18 worth of electronics, creates the sensation of both salty and sour, and has adjustable levels of stimulation, given that everyone has unique taste buds. When pushed too far, though, the fork can produce an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. So if it’s ever commercialized, there will need to be an initial calibration procedure to ensure a pleasant and tasty dining experience, without going so far as to cause physical discomfort.
Take that, gdp deflator!
Here is the article, and for the pointer I thank Peter.
Tekla Perry reports:
To feel the impact of the [hockey] hits at home, TV viewers will need to purchase the $300 ButtKicker (I kid you not), a gadget that attaches to a chair or couch and uses low-frequency audio signals (the company calls it a silent sub-woofer) to shake the furniture in perfect synchrony to the on-screen action.
There is more here, via David Price.
Christopher Snow reports:
What would you give to make all your veggies taste like chocolate? Would you give $60 to a Canadian molecular gastronomy company called Molecule-R? Because that’s how much it’s asking for the new “Aromafork.”
Molecular gastronomy is a subset of modern cuisine that borrows many of its innovations from the scientific community, but you don’t need to be a scientist to know the tongue is only responsible for a portion of overall taste. It’s your nose that fills in most of the subtleties of a given flavor, and that’s how the Aromafork works.
Each Aromafork—you get four of them—has a notch near the prongs to hold a small, circular diffusing paper. Onto the diffuser you’ll drop one of the 21 included aromas, like coffee, basil, peanut, ginger, smoke, and—yes—chocolate.
Of course the Aromafork isn’t intended solely to mask the flavor of yucky vegetables, but rather to extend the possibilities for creative food pairings. Molecule-R’s website suggests seared tuna with the aroma of truffle, or strawberries with a hint of mint, or eggs with a whiff of cilantro. The only limit is your creativity.
The company’s website is here, and for the pointer I thank Ray Llpez.
INTIMACY is a high-tech fashion project exploring the relation between intimacy and technology. Its high-tech garments entitled ‘Intimacy White’ and ‘Intimacy Black’ are made out of opaque smart e-foils that become increasingly transparent based on close and personal encounters with people.
Social interactions determine the garmentsʼ level of transparency, creating a sensual play of disclosure.
INTIMACY 2.0 features Studio Roosegaardeʼs new, wearable dresses composed of leather and smart e-foils which are daringly perfect to wear on the red carpet. In response to the heartbeat of each person, INTIMACY 2.0 becomes more or less transparent.
There is more information here, and for the pointer I thank Samir Varma.
In his specially designed growth chamber, a lonely vine, from a species chosen for its cold tolerance, sends its roots down into a Martian soil analogue (a hand-pulverised mix of volcanic rocks and glasses as well as ferromagnesia clays), while extending its leaves toward a Martian sun.
Monleon-Gendall’s Martian micro-environment accurately simulates UVA and UVB radiation levels as well as seasonal shifts in the red planet’s sunset and sunrise by using a NASA app developed by the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (“UVC radiation is not modeled for human health and safety reasons,” the narrator of his project video intones, reassuringly.)
There is more of interest at the link, and this seems to be the bottom line:
Such a vocabulary will help with the palate re-training necessary in order to achieve the project’s goal: to help humans “acquire a taste for other planets.”
The “markets in everything” angle is this:
To help humans catch up to his prickly, potato pioneers, Keats also sold bottles of Martian mineral water.
“The minerals, including pyroxene and ulvospinel and pigeonite, will be used by your body to make bone and tissue,” Keats explained toWired. “Exploring Mars in this way, you’ll start to go native.”
You can basically create a gummy replica of yourself to eat. It looks absolutely delicious.
FabCafe in Japan is offering the service for approximately $65 (6,000 Yen), which sounds like a complete steal to me. It’s apparently a 2-part process that requires a 3D body scanner and a lot of gummy colors. FabCafe, which made a chocolate replica for faces, is doing this for Japan’s White Day (in Asian countries, White Day is like Valentine’s Day but the girls give the gifts to the guys. Awesome).
Here is a bit more with photo, hat tip goes to Rob Raffety.
Built-in power supply? Check. Ability to survive anything? Check. Easy to control? Okay, anyone who’s had a cockroach as an uninvited houseguest knows that’s not the case. So, rather than re-inventing the biological wheel with a robotic version, North Carolina State university researchers have figured out a way to remotely control a real Madagascar hissing cockroach. They used an off-the-shelf microcontroller to tap in to the roach’s antennae and abdomen, then sent commands that fooled the insect into thinking danger was near, or that an object was blocking it. That let the scientists wirelessly prod the insect into action, then guide it precisely along a curved path, as shown in the video below the break. The addition of a sensor could allow the insects to one day perform tasks, liking searching for trapped disaster victims — something to think about the next time you put a shoe to one.
What’s it like trying to climb the IQ gradient with this device? There are videos at the link, and for the pointer I thank magilson.
Here is one description (with photo and a very good video):
Unveiled at a design conference in the UK recently, Kissenger is basically an egg-like orb outfitted with two soft plastic lips packed with sensors and actuators. When a human on one end of the kiss transaction plants a kiss on the robot lips, the sensors record the shape changes the kisser creates on the lips and translates those pressure patterns into a mirror image that can be beamed over the Web to another Kissenger. That Kissenger then reproduces the sender’s unique kiss for a human on the other end.
Here is another:
Kissing Bot. Singaporean robotics studio Lovotics has a new robot in the news. Kissenger is an advanced and intimate form of telepresence robot specially designed to transmit the senstions of a kiss. Two units are able to record and remotely reproduce the unique pressure sensations from a kiss … although the design looks pretty chaste and seems to lack an option to go French. Research like this while seeming silly is crucial for innovating next-gen avatar robot tech.